What's your opinion on PSA 9 versus the GEM MT 10?

I’m getting close to finishing my binder collection goals now and have for a long while now (over a year) been thinking about continuing collecting cards but this time directing my focus towards the PSA graded cards. Since I’m completely new to this I’m wondering about your experience in collecting PSA graded cards. I’m not looking to sell any of the cards I’m buying so as long as they stay quite consistent I’ll be happy.

What specifically I’m wondering about is your thoughts about getting many PSA 9s or getting few PSA 10 cards? When you bought PSA 9s were they satisfying enough or did it feel like you should have saved up and bought fewer cards but in the grade 10?
If you mainly focus on 10s are there exceptions where you think getting more cards in 9 would be better?
If you like many cards in 9, are there exceptions where you think getting fewer cards but in 10 would be better?

Originally I was thinking of only going for 10s but when I compared cards like PSA 10 1st Ed Lapras for 630 USD to a PSA 9 1st Ed Lapras for 30 USD it made me really question if it really would be worth it for me to spend that extra 600 dollars just to get 1 higher grade.

I know that what I’m asking is subjective, but would appreciate anyone who shared their opinion/experience.

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It all depends on what fits your budget. Figure 10s should be from 4 to 10 times more.

I personally like to buy 9s. They are very close 10s with some minor flaws that for me doesn’t ruin the appeal at all and they are often much more cheaper than 10s. When I grade cards myself I of course prefer to get 10s but I have no problem getting 9s to my collection especially if it’s a card that I like a lot :blush:


10s all the way. If you’re happy with your binder cards then great. But any true collector wants the highest grade possible if available.

Make take more time to complete a set but worth it in the end.


The other way to think about it is that if the PSA 10 copies go for 5 times as much as the PSA 9, that PSA 10 Fossil set could be PSA 9 Fossil + 4 Other PSA 9 sets of similar value.

As someone also new to investing + collecting PSA, I think while it’s great someone will pay a 5-20x markup for a PSA 10 over a PSA9, it’s for a select few. If you have to ask if PSA 10 is worth the huge premium, you probably already know which category you fall in.


Maybe if I ask this way: Imagine you had 0 PSA cards, and a budget of 2000 $ for the rest of the year to spend on Pokemon cards. Would you go for a 3-4 500+ USD PSA 10s or 30-40 50+ USD PSA 9s?

*Edit* Like what would you enjoy the most? What would satisfy you the most as a collector?

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When you put it that way, I’d go for the 9s.

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That Lapras I know has sold for a lot more than $630 in the past as well. So keep that in mind when you decide as well. Supply and demand determine the prices. A low pop card could be selling for $1,000+ and someone could come along and grades 3 psa 10s of the same card and tank the price down to $600-$700 by diluting the market. You can have price fluctuations with 9s as well but it will be a lot less risk. Even if you don’t plan to ever sell its nice to see cards you to continue to go up in value.

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I see, thanks! Honestly I’m still not sure. I might end up buying a mix :grin:

Good point!

Unless you’re extremely picky about card condition, 9s should make you happy. They are very high end cards and the difference between a 9 and 10 is very very small.The difference between a 9 and 10 is probably smaller than any other two consecutive grades.
For me, it just depends on the card. Some sets I want in 10 condition while others I find acceptable in 9s (even 8s in some cases). Even if you have the money it can be hard to track down certain 10s.


I’ve been thinking about this for a while as well. Obviously 10s are the best you can get, when you buy a card in a 10 then that part of the collection cannot be improved upon - it pleases my OCD.

I have been exclusively buying 10s for a while now but some of them are not “gem mint” - and this lapse in judgement from the grader worries me. Will there be a time when the grade, especially on rarer cards, is taken as an advisory and the actual card condition (photos in auctions) determines the value? I have no idea but if I bought an 18k Charizard and it wasn’t absolutely perfect I wouldn’t be happy.

Personally I will be buying more 9s going forward. Means I can actually afford some base set 1st holos too.


Personally I’d go for PSA 9 sets , and PSA 10 on your favorite cards.

I don’t know which sets will be your goals, but if you went for 1st ed base, obviously it may take a long time, but at some point, if your budget doubled, you could be possibly looking at just 2 Uncommons in 15 years from now… with prices like wartortle so high …

To me personally, I’d rather fill an entire binder with all full arts for that kind of price, over an uncommon base 1st edition.


I personally don’t mind cards that are 9s for my collection being as 9s are still mint cards. They are cheap and fill holes in sets nicely. Some of them aren’t even damaged just OC so the difference is minimal between the two grades in some cases. If you start with 9s you can always upgrade later on as well which is a good option to have if your finances change for the better.


Wow, Wartortle is quite insane indeed!

I myself would probably go for 10’s, just because there’s a 10 on them :stuck_out_tongue: But it all depends on what you want, and you can also try to grade cards by yourself, I don’t have enough experience yet, but I’m expecting that with a fair share of experience PSA 9 wil become the baseline with sometimes a PSA 10, but also sometimes a lower grade.

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In my opinion, its fun to collect sets, but the priority should be your favorite cards. And realistically very few people can even buy all psa 10 english set cards now holo or rarer, unless they have a large amount of money to invest starting now.

I’d go with set 9’s, and 10’s for your favorite cards. If the stuff you like is cheap, or there aren’t many, I’d go for PSA 10 unlimited over 1st ed PSA 9 , Personally I prefer the same art with a 10 than a stamp with a 9.

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First of all I very much appreciate all the feedback this has gotten, and all so fast. This community is truly awesome!

This seems very reasonable. I completely get the crave for Gem Mint for the absolute favorite cards.

I understand where you’re coming from. To me the main reason I’m looking into the PSA graded cards is because I’m looking for cards with great condition and since I’m a complete noobie it makes it a much safer buy since I know the card has gotten a professional third party grade, instead of me having to stare at many different photos looking for imperfections that I’m honestly not yet qualified to do.

Do you mean that 9s don’t sell as quickly as 10s, so if I wanted to let it go I’d have to sell it under-price? Or do you mean that the 9s don’t grow as much as the 10s?

When it comes to what my goals are as of now: My binder collection consists of all the first seven English sets and some holos and rares from the Neo sets, and the complete evolutions set. Some are from when I was a kid, but most are bought through Troll&Toad and Collectors Cache. The ones I bought were the “NM” option, but I guess all here know those range widely from heavily played condition to NM. Because I got many sets complete in the binders, I don’t really feel like going for PSA graded sets. So my Mint/Gem-MT goals are Japanese exclusive promos and holos from the early English sets from Base Set to Neo Destiny that I like.

I do exactly this. I buy both 9s and 10s. If i really like the card i will push for the 10 if i can afford it. The high difference in price and condition of card can be so minimal that it doesnt make sense to get all 10s unless you have a very deep wallet.

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I generally stick to 10’s, unless its something that im unwilling to pay for in a 10. Like Japanese Shinings or masaki promos.

I also collect Japanese Gold Stars, and there is no way i’m getting a gem mint Charizard or Mew anytime soon, so i’m going to settle for 9s there too. Same with trophy cards if i ever manage to grab one.

9’s are perfectly acceptable, the difference is minimal when it comes to 9’s/10’s, but if its affordable or if i like the card enough, ill go for the 10.


I resent your opinion as it claims I am not a true collector